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OPP welcomed by improvised gathering

by Isabel Mosseler

It was a big day for policing in West Nipissing, as the WN Police Service was officially disbanded and the new WN OPP Detachment took over operations at precisely noon on June 6. Despite the significance of the change, there was no ceremony or even an official welcome from the town, so a small crowd of around 50 residents gathered at the temporary police facility on John Street in Sturgeon Falls to greet the incoming detachment commander, Michael Maville, and his staff. Handshakes and greetings were exchanged, and the atmosphere was friendly though low-key.

The only official recognition of the change came from outgoing WN Police Chief Raymond St-Pierre, who issued a final release closing the book on the service he managed for the past year during the transition process.

“June 6, 2019, marks the end of an era for the West Nipissing Police Service as the disbandment day has finally arrived. As Chief of Police, I want to thank our many partners, all of whom have contributed to the safety of this community. I want to recognize our members, sworn and civilian, men and women past and present for their dedication and commitment to making Sturgeon Falls and West Nipissing a secure place for all residents. All the families of our emergency personnel also deserve our admiration for supporting our members over the years. To the residents of West Nipissing it has truly been an exceptional experience serving this community, and to the media, thank you for always getting our messages out to the populous, it is sincerely appreciated. Thank you to all,” he wrote.

While the town had no formal role in the welcoming procession, some members of council were present and one even had a hand in organizing. The initiative came from Councilor Rolly Larabie, who initiated the OPP costing process in 2016, and former councilor Denise Brisson. Brisson says when they realized nothing was planned to welcome the new detachment commander and crew, they decided that “a West Nipissing welcome was in order.” At 10:00 on Wednesday evening, Brisson issued an invitation via social media, letting people know that a group of citizens planned on gathering the next day.

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